Does the Hypnotherapy still a myth?

Does Hypnotherapy still a Myth? For people living with OCD, PTSD, phobias, anxiety, or depression, sometimes therapy and medication don’t feel like enough. That’s where hypnosis comes in. Anxiety is actually self-hypnosis in a negative way — when you practice hypnosis, you reprogram the mind with different beliefs.

But the stigma and skepticism attached to hypnosis mean a lot of people struggling with mental health issues don’t know it’s a real option for them. My therapist, whom I credit with a ton of my improvements, recommended I try hypnosis. I, of course, reacted like most people: with serious doubts. I imagined someone waving a long, gold chain connected to a pocket watch across my face while I miraculously passed out. But when you’re barely able to function, you’ll try just about anything. That’s how I came to try hypnosis, and how I became a believer in its power.

For many people, including plenty of mental health professionals, hypnosis brings to mind mental weakness, mind control, sleep, or loss of consciousness. Women are often considered more hypnotizable than men. Those are myths. Hypnosis is neither mind control nor a strategy for the weak-willed. Clearly, women are not more hypnotizable than men, and finally, the old wives’ tale that people go to sleep or lose consciousness when they are hypnotized is just that-an old wives’ tale. On the contrary, a hypnotized person enters a highly alert state in which the person’s focus or concentration is heightened.

Hypnosis allows patients to focus and sustain concentration so they can be taught a well-thought-out behavior modification program. Hypnosis should be viewed, however, as an adjunctive part of an ongoing therapeutic plan. For example, a dentist who uses hypnosis for pain or anxiety control is aiding his primary therapy-the practice of dentistry-in an adjunctive way.

Hypnosis can help patients working on issues such as smoking cessation, weight control, nail bating, phobia mastery, insomnia, anxiety, including PTSD, poor sexual function, obsessive thinking, and stress-related problems that might be rooted in such physical problems as hypertension, headache, or chronic pain problems. Hypnosis can be an effective aid in treating these problems. But not enough psychiatrists, psychologists, and psychotherapists use hypnosis or understand what it can and cannot do.

Here are some things to keep in mind if you’re willing to give hypnosis a try:

  • Find a hypnotist you trust. Do your research, inquire about their training and certification, and ask to speak to past clients of theirs. Confidence in your care provider, whatever their specialty, is key.
  • Focus on your motivation to change. You may not be fully convinced of the potential at first, but if you are remaining open-minded and stick with it, results will likely follow.
  • Hypnosis is a partnership. Both you and your hypnotist work together in the healing process. Whether you’re listening to your hypnotist read a script or taking in their tapes on repeat, it takes two.
  • You don’t need to be actively listening for hypnosis to work. The commands and messages your hypnotist embeds in your script will be absorbed by the subconscious mind
  • You are in control of your session. You still have free will, and you’re not in a trance. The hypnotist is just there there to facilitate.
  • You’re not too “strong-willed” to be hypnotized. Your hypnotist is helping you to hypnotize yourself — you’re not giving in or tricking yourself into a state of mind you don’t actually want to enter. This is something you’re doing for you, as part of a full treatment plan you and your care providers work out together.

Finally, hypnosis wasn’t an easy or automatic fix. It required patience, commitment, and consistency in showing up to my appointments and listening to my recordings. But I’m so glad I gave hypnosis a chance. I count it as one of the therapeutic techniques that helped me feel like myself again — and that has been worth every minute I’ve spent on it.

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